MP for Beverley and Holderness Graham Stuart, Conservative MP for Beverley & Holderness

Graham meets local fishing industry as he calls for “sensible and proportionate” regulation

Graham has called for “sensible and proportionate” regulation of the fishing industry after meeting representatives in Withernsea to hear about the situation locally regarding both sea bass and lobster fishing.

Graham met Shaun Wingham and his wife Penny to hear about the impact of new EU regulations that affect the Holderness onshore fishermen by prohibiting the landing of sea bass.   Shaun and his colleagues fish using a net that is stretched out along the shoreline at low tide, allowing the catch to be brought in when the tide retreats again.  Sea bass is the most valuable part of their haul.

These rules will not have any conservation value.  As the fishermen have a licence to continue to catch salmon and sea trout they will still catch sea bass in their net but will not be able to land them – instead the dead bass will have to be thrown back into the sea, discarded on the beach or used as crab bait. 

Graham has called on the Fisheries Minister George Eustace to look again at the rules, saying:

“It is infuriating that these EU rules are threatening the livelihood of our last remaining onshore fishermen like Shaun when they will do nothing to protect fish stocks.  I appreciate the need to ensure sustainable fishing but given that the Holderness onshore fishermen will still catch bass when they fish legally for salmon and sea trout, the situation makes no sense.  I have called on the Minister to look into all the available options to ensure a sensible and proportionate solution and I will continue to press for a rethink.”

Graham also heard from Mike Cohen, the Chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, about the current DEFRA consultation considering a ban on landing egg-bearing (“berried”) lobsters and crawfish in England to help protect shellfish stocks.

Mr Cohen explained how any ban would need to be considered extremely carefully to avoid inadvertently destabilising the lobster population.  A ban on landing egg-bearing female lobsters might lead to disproportionate fishing of male lobsters, for example, while a ban on landing mature lobsters – which are most fertile – could lead to disproportionate fishing of young shellfish and threaten future sustainability. 

Graham added, “It was really helpful to hear from Mike about the need to avoid creating perverse outcomes when considering how best to protect shellfish stocks and this is also something I will be able to emphasise in my discussions with ministers.”

Mike Cohen said,

“The beach netting fishery for bass in East Yorkshire is small-scale, sustainable and extremely low-impact. A new EU regulation has wiped it out at a stroke, while still permitting bass to be caught by less sustainable means. I am glad of Graham Stuart’s involvement in this issue and his support for local fishermen.

“I was also pleased to be able to discuss with him DEFRA’s current consultation on lobster fishing. This is the largest fishery in this region and supports hundreds of jobs. Sensible and proportionate management of the fishery is vital and DEFRA’s collaborative approach and Graham’s interest are both very welcome.”


April 7th, 2017


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